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State Agencies Offer Disaster Assistance After Deadly Storms

By Daniel Cherry | Published 03 May 2011 04:05pm | comments

Mississippians are trying to return to their normal lives after a series of deadly weather outbreaks this Spring. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports on programs available to those who were affected by the storms.

Tonia Ray is one of the people who lost their homes when a tornado ripped through Clinton in mid April.

"At the beginning I thought it was just gone I couldn't see it all. I got a little closer and I saw my garage was gone. I could see inside my attic."

Ray is just one of thousands who have been affected by the storms. Now many of those people are eligible to receive emergency assistance from the state and federal government. David Noble with the Mississippi Department of Human Services says people may qualify for their Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

"In a disaster like this you have households that have damage to their home. Therefore they have increased expenses to fix those damages therefore they have less disposable income to meet their food needs. You have situation where the power was out and people lost food and that's an increased expense."

The Department of Human Services will have workers on site to assist residents in Greene, Hinds, and Kemper counties today through Friday for food assistance. Next week they'll visit the other 8 counties declared disaster areas. In addition to food many people are in need of work. Jimmy Giles is with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security. He says they'll be going out into affected communities to offer disaster unemployment assistance and help people find new jobs.

"Smithville has been devastated. I think the business community there has been pretty much totally wiped out. I'm not sure about the employment opportunities in the surrounding area, but individuals could be out of work for a lengthy duration."

There's a long list of agencies offering their services to those in need. Among those are the IRS, the Mississippi Insurance Department, and the state Attorney General. Daniel Cherry...MPB News.

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